5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

5-must-read-books-for-women-who-thinkOne of my readers recently criticized me for promoting what she considers oppressive and archaic beliefs regarding marriage and motherhood.

“Read something – anything
– on feminism,”
she pleaded. “Learn to respect yourself, then you can respect others.”

Of course, this is a cleaned-up version of what she actually wrote. Her original comment was so riddled with expletives and venomous slurs that it made me wonder what, exactly, her notion of “respecting others” entailed.

But that is beside the point.

As it happens, I had already read half a dozen books on feminism, but her suggestion sent me searching Amazon for new titles of interest. That’s where I found the book I just finished reading: The Flipside of Feminism, by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly.

This book — like the other four listed alongside it — is too good not to share. The authors examine feminism in light of common sense and expose it for the failed social experiment it is.

No intellectually honest person can look at the aftermath of the sexual revolution — rampant venereal disease and abortion, escalating rates of single motherhood and the abject poverty that it fosters, and coin-toss marriage survival rates — and not recognize that something is amiss.

That something is our godless worldview, of which feminism is a major component.

In my mind, buying into feminism is a lot like smoking cigarettes. While I understand why someone who has smoked two packs a day for the past 50 years might have a hard time kicking the habit, I am dumbfounded that anyone not already addicted to nicotine would ever take their first drag in this day and age, knowing what we now know about tobacco’s causal link to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and a host of other devastating illnesses.

In the same way, I find it incredulous that anybody who has witnessed firsthand the destruction and despair that follow in the wake of feminism would continue to cling to such a bankrupt ideology.

Yet cling they do, and with dogged persistence.

If these women could leave off chanting their antiquated rhetoric long enough, they would hear the cries and whimpers of the modern class of victims their manifesto has created — victims that include their own children, everyone on the planet with a Y-chromosome, and ultimately the feminists themselves.

To be sure, some espouse feminist ideals because they patently believe in them, but I suspect much of our society cooperates solely for the sake of remaining politically correct. They can see as well as the next person the mess this radical movement has made of things, yet they keep their thoughts to themselves and watch on in silence.

But perhaps that is about to change.

The whispers are beginning to circulate, and the crowd is starting to stir. The status quo has been boldly challenged by books such as these — books that say what we already know in our hearts to be true: “Feminism is a bust. The emperor has no clothes.”

For a fresh look at feminism, don’t miss these five favorites:

flipside-of-feminismTHE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM:
What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say

by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly

Excerpt: “Most important, we must begin by telling… the truth about what feminism has done. After all, no society can thrive — or survive — when half its members believe they’re oppressed and the other half are told there’s no reason for them to exist…. It’s time to end the war between the sexes. Men are not the enemy…. Americans aren’t used to hearing [but deserve to know] that women are the fortunate sex, or that ‘hooking up’ is wrong (and foolish), or that happy lifetime marriages are attainable, or that staying home to care for one’s children is a noble and worthwhile endeavor, or that men in America are the real second-class citizens.”


what-our-mothers-didnWHAT OUR MOTHERS DIDN’T TELL US:
Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman

By Danielle Crittenden

Excerpt: “It may be true that 30 years ago shockingly discriminatory attitudes towards women in the workplace prevailed, and we are all thankful to be rid of them. But in their place have risen some shockingly discriminatory attitudes towards women who wish to have children without neglecting them (as exemplified by Hillary Clinton’s remark, ‘I suppose I could’ve stayed home and baked cookies’). And it is these attitudes that have made it difficult for a woman today to occupy either sphere of work or home completely happily, without feeling guilty and exhausted in one or insecure and underappreciated in the other.”


return-to-modestyA RETURN TO MODESTY:
Discovering the Lost Virtue

by Wendy Shalit

Excerpt: “Modesty acknowledged [a woman's] special vulnerability, and protected it. It made women equal to men as women. Encouraged to act immodestly, a woman exposes her vulnerability and she then becomes, in fact, the weaker sex. A woman can argue that she is exactly the same as a man, she may deny having any special vulnerability, and act accordingly, but I cannot help noticing that she usually ends up exhibiting her feminine nature anyway, only this time in victimhood, not in strength.”

Note: Shalit’s follow-up book, Girls Gone Mild, is also a very enlightening read.


case-for-marriageTHE CASE FOR MARRIAGE:
Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially

by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher

Excerpt: “[A]t the heart of the unacknowledged war on marriage is the attampt to demote marriage from a unique public commitment — supported by law, society, and custom — to a private relationship, terminable at will, which is nobody else’s business. This demolition is done in the name of choice, but as we shall see… reimagining marriage as a purely private relation doesn’t expand anyones’s choices. For what it ultimately takes away from individuals is marriage itself, the choice to enter that uniquely powerful and life-enhancing bond that is larger and more durable than the immediate, shifting feelings of two individuals.”


prudePRUDE:
How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)

by Carol Platt Liebau

Excerpt: “When a girl’s attention is directed primarily to her appearance, there’s less time for her to pursue other interests and develop other skills that can serve as sources of self-esteem. When she’s learned to garner male attention simply by displaying her body, it’s less likely that she’ll develop the other common qualities that are conducive to strong relationships and lasting happiness; indeed, a lifetime of focusing primarily on her own appearance in body — and automatically expecting men to do so as well — can make it difficult to form deep, lasting bonds with any man.”


31 thoughts on “5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

  1. Hi, Jennifer. Thank you for listing all of these books. They look like a great way to inform oneself on both sides of the issue. Personally, I identify as a feminist, but I find myself in the very strange and often lonely corner of Christian and feminist. Unfortunately, most conservative Christians judge all feminists by a very loud minority of feminists. In fact, within feminism there are several different strains or “feminisms.” I hold to the first wave of feminism—the one that brought women the right to vote and work and own property and legally have as much power as men. I think these books are lashing out against second-wave feminism, which has indeed taken things too far in many ways. But I still identify as a feminist because many problems that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott fought against still exist: the wage gap, discrimination against mothers (and potential mothers) in the work place, the porn industry, etc. I will definitely add these books to my to-read list, as I try to be open-minded to both sides of this issue.

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    • Ariel, I completely agree with you. I do not claim to be a feminist though, as today’s connotation of feminism includes the ideals of second-wave feminism. Men and women are indeed very equal in worth, and women should never be treated as though they are less than men.

      I think you can fight for women without joining the feminist movement, and it seems to me that this is exactly what Jennifer Flanders does. To do so, we are calling women to embrace their femininity & submit themselves to living as God our creator has designed us to live! This is the true way to empower women to live a life that is free from the pressure/burden of trying to be the same as men.

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  2. I agree with you 100%. I read The Flipside of Feminism awhile ago and plan to re-read it again sometime this year!! FABULOUS BOOK!!! I’m going to review it on my blog after my second read :) I’m currently reading A Return to Modesty which is also super good so far! What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us and Prude are already on my reading list; I’ll have to add A Case for Marriage. Great post! Thanks for sharing the great list :)

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  3. I agree with the above comments that women have taken feminism too far. God made us equal in WORTH to men – not equal in every single aspect of our lives. Women are the heart of their home and their communities. It is us who actively promote love to our neighbours and keep our churches humming. Yes, I see what the first wave of feminism did for women – I’m glad I can vote and have my say in the world I live in. I’m also glad women are now paid properly for the work they do. I’m a mother and wife who stays at home to care for her family (yes, I do see myself as extremely blessed and fortunate to be able to do this) and I see the value of what I contribute. The work I do is written in the Bible and I’m glad to be able to fulfill the duty that God has set before me. The work I do is equal in worth to the work of my husband who earns the money to provide for our family.
    I have friends who are feminists (some are radical!) and although I may not agree with everything they stand for, they are women with beautiful hearts who are heavily involved in their communities. I think it’s time women started being more of a sisterhood, and less about comparing and criticising each other.

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    • A better life? For you, maybe. But I am delighted at the options I have today because of feminism. I do not want to be in my house all day. I don’t mind cooking and cleaning but I am not a washing machine for my husband. If I’m too tired, he can do his own laundry.

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  4. I am so sorry that this woman responded to you the way that she did. I often wonder why it is, that some feminist think that using vulgar and inappropriate language, is ok. I am not a feminist. I believe that women who put the Lord God, first and foremost in their life, and that love their husband’s and children from the heart, are what this country truly needs. We need to put God first. We need to love our families, and be there when they come home from school/work. Have someone to talk to and express how their day was. To be involved in their lives. To have family supper time together. My husband and I, made the decision (after having our daughter) to cut back in buying alot of material things that we truly don’t need, and instead invest it in our family. We do not receive any public assistance, my husband works everyday and I work a part time job in the am, when they are in school. I do not regret one moment being home with my children when they come home. It is my belief that our children have benefitted more from this, than any other material object that we could have gotten them. Now, it is true that some families need for Mom to work, and I know that must be very hard. To leave your babies for the whole day and have someone else raise them. I admire them and we need to help these Mom’s as much as we can. But, I chose to stop having my hair done professionally, getting my nails done and buying the latest and greatest. My payoff, is a little person coming to you and saying, Momma, I love you so much! That means so much more to me, then any material thing I could purchase. I pray that God Blesses the feminist woman and enlightens her that we are not archaic in our thinking. We have made this decision to put God and our families first because it is important to us and it is what we believe is best for our families. Sorry for the long reply. God Bless:)

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    • If feminism were truly about expanding the choices available to women, the answer might be “nothing.” But such is not the case, as revealed by feminist Simone de Beauvoir’s chilling appraisal: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

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    • The fact that the choice exists at all. Until the twentieth century and feminism, there was no choice. A woman was her father’s (and then her husband’s) legal and social inferior. There was no real, significant, and in many cases legal, place for a woman outside the home. Feminism made it possible for a woman to CHOOSE to stay at home rather than be required to do so social or legal mandate.

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      • Here, here! I feel that women who have professions, education, and the ability to make choices about whether to stay home, work, or stay home and work, are being a bit hypocritical when they criticize feminism. Without feminism, we would be *forced* to stay at home, or *forced* to work outside it due to poverty.

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  5. Hi
    Tanks for your emails they are really helpful,the advice,sharing, are amazing i have learn a lot since i subscribed to your site.

    May you keep up your good work and our Good and Loving Lord will continue to bless you abundantly.

    Thank you

    Warmest regards
    Sonto Ntuli
    South Africa

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  6. I love your blog and the words you choose to describe marriage, but I have to say this post disappointed me, Feminism is not the bra burning, man hating, war-cry you are making it out to be. Feminism means equality. That’s it. Do you believe women are equally as valuable as men? Then you are a feminist. I know that pop culture has thwarted the meaning of the word to bring to mind a picture of hippie lesbians burning their bras and declaring war on the opposite sex; but pop culture has also thwarted the meaning of family, sex, and God, and no one is clinging to those new meanings for these words identifying good things. I have been studying marriage for a while and am in love with God’s design for it- that men and women have different roles, that the man gets to lead and the woman gets to be a helper suitable and it creates this perfect dance. In no way is God’s design opposed to feminism, as God cherishes women and men alike, and I’m saddened that the beauty of equality has been degraded to what is described in this post.

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    • Sunny,
      Being that the term feminism has some negative connotations in Christian culture, the writer here (in the article and in the comments) has taken in to account that it is important to define what she means by feminism. The English language, through the centuries and through the decades has changed a great deal. Each person has different experiences and ideals which may seem hard to grasp by others either from misunderstanding or pure disagreement. All misunderstanding should be resolved before we can determine whether we agree with an idea or not. There are also those ideas which we have in our minds that we may give a specific term to, but the same beliefs and ideas living inside another person’s head may be defined in a different way by them. So, how do you know what a person really means?…. Description, explanations and so on. Sometimes we need to be the dictionaries and translators of our own ideas for those we are trying to communicate with. In the case of the term “feminism” there are many connotations both positive and negative. Therefore we must define our terms. You can’t use a word that is pregnant with meaning and expect others to get your point without “delivering” your own definition. That is why feminism is good to you but not to the writer. You are saying the same thing but differently. :-)

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  7. This site makes me sick. Where do you get these ideas that men should lead and women should follow. I know, from the Bible, right? If you want to live your lives by an ancient tome, that’s fine. I respect the Bible very much and its contributions to Western civilization, but the sexist verses you promote on here as biblical womanhood were written in a time when men treated their livestock better than women and many people abandoned their female babies.

    Please do not try to take away the voting rights feminists fought for me for. What makes you happy may not make me happy. I vote and I’m proud of it and I LOVE my job. I believe in God and Jesus, but not the sick and twisted version presented on this site.

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  8. I agree with many of the others who have already commented here: Your idea of feminism is lazy and ignorant (sorry to sound so negative, but I can’t think of other words that adequately describe how you’ve presented your understanding of a complex movement/phenomenon). Feminism, exactly as any other movement, must not be defined by its loudest (or most violent) members. Just as Christianity is not to be defined by Westboro, feminism is not to be defined by those who judge and criticize its opponents.

    I am very much a feminist: I stay home with my son, loved being pregnant (no matter how much I complained), put my career on hold to raise my family, support my husband as his career develops and supports our family, do laundry, bake cookies, change diapers, knit, cook, sew, garden, and so many other things you seem convinced that not only would a feminist never do, but would loudly criticize any other woman for doing.

    I am a feminist because I CHOOSE to do these things, not because my husband owns me and informs me that because of our chromosomal differences I am capable only of these things and shall never leave the home to do more. I am not duty-bound by my sex to eschew education, career, independence, power tools, and greater social value. I am not less than my husband, father, brothers, or son.

    Most importantly, I am not defined by my sex. My potential is not defined by my sex. My value is not defined by my sex.

    This, and not the judgmental, promiscuous man-hater, is what a feminist is.

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    • It sounds like you’ve made some wise choices, Angela. It was not my intention to imply that women should eschew education and power tools (I was doing graduate work in mathematics when I married my husband, and one of the first and best gifts he ever gave me was a 10-inch band saw). I, too, believe that women are capable of much more than changing diapers, doing laundry, and baking cookies… but that doesn’t mean these mundane, daily tasks are unimportant or of “lesser” social value. Quite the contrary. Our wombs and our breasts may not define us, but they certainly equip us to do something vitally important — something no man will ever be able to do. Granted, a husband’s contribution to this process is indispensable, but our roles are not interchangeable and never will be.

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      • You seem to be referring to the biological contributions of men, which are of course indispensible and not interchangeable. But your other views seem to closely align with the feminism you’ve chosen to malign. How is taking advantage of the benefits and freedoms only feminism has brought women in itself not feminism? I don’t understand how a woman whose life as it is today is created only because of these freedoms could not identify as a feminist. Maybe the problem with the feminist identity is that it’s understood in a way I see as fundamentally reversed: a person is not a feminist and therefore holds some ideas; a person has ideas (or lives and behaves in a certain way) and therefore uses the term “feminist” to describe her or himself.

        I understand that there are negative associations with feminism, but they tend only to exist when a person sees feminism as a club one can only belong to if they rigidly adhere to aggressive, judgmental, man-hating views and behavior. But this is not always, necessarily, or even frequently what a feminist is. So I guess I’m asking, what’s wrong with identifying as a feminist and setting that positive example for your community and family?

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      • You make an excellent point, Angela. Setting a positive example for my family and community has always been a high priority of mine. But I dislike labels in general, and the “feminist” label in particular, as labels often mean drastically different things to different groups.

        Those who know me, who have observed my life and have spoken to me at length about such matters, know beyond a shadow of doubt that I believe all people — women included — should be treated with dignity, kindness, and respect. They can testify that I value education as highly for myself and my daughters as I do for my husband and sons. And they know that it makes me angry to think that anyone (past, present, or future) would use or abuse or exploit or objectify a woman and treat her like a piece of property rather than the invaluable person she is, a person with rights and hopes and dreams and intellect, a person created in the very image of God.

        Perhaps in your mind, these beliefs would qualify me as a feminist.

        But I also believe that God instituted the family to function in a certain way: that when a man and a woman marry, it should be for life, that the children they bear should love, honor, respect, and obey their parents as their God-given authority, and that the wife should love, honor, respect, and defer to her husband as the head of the home.

        To a radical feminist, those notions are anathema and represent everything that is wrong with the world. In her mind, it would be a farce and an insult for me to claim to be a feminist while holding to such offensive, antiquated views.

        So I choose not to label myself as such.

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      • Jennifer,

        You choose not to identify as feminist because “radical feminists” deride family values. By this way of reasoning, I would choose not to identify as Christian because some “radical Christians” believe that women should not vote, work, or even be educated.

        The extreme view belongs to the minority. It does not define the movement. I am a feminist, yet I believe that women must have the right to choose to care for their family as stay-at-home-mothers. On the flip side, I also believe that they must have the right to choose a definition of success that evokes economic and political power.

        And there lies the issue. You take it for granted that women are fundamentally the supportive wife, the nurturing mother. I come from a different background and in my experience, women are just as hungry for careers as men. Personally, I lead a rich life by pursuing a challenging (but highly enjoyable) career. I am also in a loving long-term relationship, but I did not sacrifice my fulfilling work to pursue a happy home. Instead, we both made equal sacrifices to maintain our relationship. I do not submit — I negotiate and compromise to ensure my happiness as well as his. In your worldview, I have made the “wrong” choices, yet I am completely happy. In fact, I have had the experience of minding the home and hearth and found it mind-numbing, exhausting, and unpleasant. Will you admit that your definition of feminine power just will not suffice for many women?

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  9. Ohoho. Phyllis Schlafly! I never thought I’d see that name again. Sweetie, that lady did so much harm you can’t begin to calculate it. I pray you never find out, but if one find day your husband decides he’s done with your marriage, or if you’re left to finish raising your family alone for any other reason, you’ll soon find out why ol’ Phyl is not your friend.

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  10. Feminism a failed social experiment? No. Feminism is anything BUT a social experiment. Feminism is about killing off misogyny AND misandry, about killing off patriarchy; killing oppression. Not about being “trendy.” This is my first post I’ve ever seen from this blog, and I’m not impressed.

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